President Barack Obama said Thursday he would soon propose reforms to the National Surveillance Agency in an effort to address domestic concerns about spying and privacy in the wake of government surveillance leaks by former security contractor Edward Snowden.
While the sheer volume of tips received this year underscores the impact the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower program has had on enforcement activities in its second year of operation, the continuing pattern of diversity among whistleblowers is also noteworthy. Any concerns about the commission’s ability to adequately publicize the program have seemingly been laid to rest, says Steven Goldschmidt of Ropes & Gray LLP.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet indicated whether products with genetically modified organisms can be labeled as “all natural,” nor has it indicated when such a label would be false or misleading. This lack of action has led some courts to stay proceedings in anticipation of a clear determination — the main question for courts in 2014 will be whether to stay future cases in hope of obtaining FDA guidance, says Josh Becker at Alston & Bird LLP.
While the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act until next year, employers will soon have to determine whether an employee is classified as full-time and is therefore eligible for coverage — which may lead to staffing decisions that could expose them to liability. Remember, section 510 of ERISA generally prohibits interfering with employee benefits, say Adam Solander and Kara Maciel of Epstein Becker Green PC.
State appellate courts provided sweeping decisions in 2013 affecting coverage rights under a variety of insurance policies. Practitioners can learn from K&L Homes Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. and Capstone Building Corp. v. American Motorists Insurance Co., to name just two, say attorneys with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.
Before a landowner grants an oil & gas lease to a lessee, he should carefully consider some key provisions to protect himself and to maximize economic benefit. For example, always make sure the provisions do not permit the primary term of the lease to extend beyond the stated period absent production, drilling or other operations, say attorneys at Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Northwest v. Ginsberg gives the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to affirm that frequent flier programs are "services" covered by the Airline Deregulation Act. However, the high court’s recent oral argument suggests that its decision may not end up addressing this important issue, says Roy Goldberg of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board's recent ruling in Garmin v. Cuozzo — the first final decision after trial in an inter partes review — provides important guidance for patent practitioners for inter partes review, litigation and prosecution, say Susan Glovsky and Timothy Meagher of Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds PC.
While data has created unprecedented opportunities, it also precipitates new risks and exacerbates old risks. To address these concerns, enterprises should create and maintain a comprehensive data inventory, which includes identifying, classifying and labeling confidential business data, says Mark Paulding of InfoLawGroup LLP.
Companies should carefully consider the interaction of the various timing requirements under Regulation FD and Form 8-K. Filing of a Form 8-K is not required until four business days after initial disclosure, but to take advantage of the filing exception for nonwritten communications, the earnings call must take place no more than 48 hours after the earnings release is filed on Form 8-K, says Michael Zeidel of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom LLP.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has generally not concerned itself with improper conduct involving embargoed countries. But the SEC’s complaint in the recent Weatherford International Ltd. case suggests that the agency takes the position that inaccurate accounting of transactions with embargoed countries can result in violations of the Exchange Act, say attorneys with Ropes & Gray LLP.